Former Democratic state Rep. Vernon Jones has branded himself as the “black Donald Trump,” hoping that his ties to the former president will help him win one of Georgia’s most competitive House Republican primary elections.
When he rose to national prominence in 2020 as one of the loudest black voices to endorse Trump’s reelection, the bombastic politician was on the outs with his former party. Jones believes the ex-widely president’s sought-after endorsement will help him gain enough support among primary voters in the state’s 10th Congressional District to win the crucial GOP nomination for the heavily Republican seat stretching from Atlanta’s outskirts to the South Carolina state line.
From 2017 to 2021, he was a Democratic state House member, and from 2001 to 2009, he was the chief executive officer of DeKalb County. Jones, who is running for Congress this year, has built his campaign on debunking theories that President Joe Biden stole the 2020 election. If elected, Jones has promised yet another election audit — Georgia has already had three. Jones also promises that on his first day in Congress, he will file articles of impeachment against Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for “betrayal of public trust.”
Jones is running for Rep. Jody Hice’s seat in the House. Hice is leaving her seat in east Georgia to run for secretary of state, with Trump’s approval.
Jones has addressed contentious issues such as abortion and the LGBTQ community since entering the race. He has claimed that homosexuality is a choice, and he recently told the Washington Examiner that liberals have “destroyed the black community.” Planned Parenthood, according to Jones, actively coerces black teenagers and women to have abortions.
Jones, like Hice, was hand-picked by Trump as part of a campaign to derail Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, whom Trump blames for his loss in the presidential election. Jones initially ran for governor but dropped out in February after Trump promised to endorse him in the congressional races if he dropped his statewide bid to make way for another Trump-backed candidate, former Sen. David Perdue.
Jones claimed Trump told him that running for Congress would allow him to “kill two birds with one stone,” adding that if he won, he would help save Georgia and the country from left-wing liberals. Being a Republican member of Congress would also help the party better prepare for the 2024 presidential election, according to Jones.
“It’s a bigger microphone, and being a congressman gives me not only a national platform, but also an international platform as we deal with issues ranging from what’s going on in Ukraine to what’s going on at our borders and with our military men and women,” he said. Jones’ campaign has come under fire in recent months, and he, like his political hero Trump, has been dogged by controversy and allegations of inappropriate behavior.
Jones has been accused of harassing, threatening, and intimidating women. One woman claimed he raped her on December 28, 2004. Jones has avoided criminal prosecution, and his political career has flourished in the aftermath of the incident.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigated multiple criminal and civil complaints filed against Jones and interviewed dozens of elected officials, activists, and lawyers who had previously filed complaints. The investigation uncovered numerous previously unreported details about Jones’s behavior toward women over a three-decade period.
Georgia’s Republican primary election will take place on May 24. Earlier this month, the candidates debated term limits, the economy, and social issues such as Roe vs. Wade at an Atlanta Press Club debate. However, much of the discussion centered on Jones and his opponent, trucking executive and son of former U.S. Rep. Mac Collins. Despite failing to secure an endorsement, the younger Collins has run as an unabashed Trump supporter.